ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) — It's been blow after blow in the last two weeks after three major metro companies announced layoffs that will cost 380 jobs. Mayor R.J. Berry and Gov. Susana Martinez both claimed they know what's needed to generate more jobs, but one leading lawmaker insists they're on the wrong track.
"We're really treading water right now," said Sen. Gerald Ortiz y Pino, D-Albuquerque.
But Mayor Berry and Governor. Martinez insist the news isn't all bad.
"We have Honeywell that's bringing 100 to 200 jobs to New Mexico. We have Lowe's that's bringing almost 600 jobs more," said Gov. Martinez.
Lowe's recently opened a call center in Albuquerque and plans to have it fully staffed by late next year.
Honeywell's Avionics division is moving here from Kansas.
Martinez and Berry both said the state needs to cut regulations and taxes to attract more companies and jobs.
"We need to make sure people outside know that this is a great place to do business," said Berry.
Sen. Ortiz y Pino said cutting taxes isn't going to solve the problem. He pointed out Schott Solar got huge incentives when it first came to Albuquerque in 2009, then pulled out, leaving the state holding the bag for $16 million.
Ortiz y Pino said New Mexico can put people to work now by building highways and other projects.
"The only real growth that we can sustain, I think, is to grow from within," said Ortiz y Pino.
Martinez said in order to make the economy grow, she's standing by her priorities.
"One that we educate our kids in the best way possible we can because 48th in the nation is unacceptable to anybody," said Martinez. "Number two that they're prepared for the workforce that is going to be available to them."
"Number three, making New Mexico safe and making sure New Mexico isn't a magnet for people to come here to commit fraud and then leave our state. Those are three basic things that are so important that I am going to fight every session."
Ortiz y Pino claims the governor is missing the mark.
"She's locked into three basic positions and moving beyond those so far hasn't happened," said Ortiz y Pino. "What we need is leadership on the most pressing issue, which is jobs and that's where we haven't seen anything yet."
The legislature passed several tax bills this year to help businesses, but they just took effect July 1. The governor said it will take some time for them to have an impact.
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New Mexico is located in the southwestern region of the U.S. Inhabited by Native American populations for many centuries, New Mexico has also been part of Imperial Spain, part of Mexico, and a U.S. territory.